ECCO Country Member Profiles: Ireland

Catherine Walsh, N-ECCO National Representative, Ireland

Catherine Walsh
© Catherine Walsh
1920px Flag of Ireland


Name of group: The IBD section of the British Society of Gastroenterology (BSG).
Number of active members: 60
Number of meetings per year: 2
President and Secretary: 
Emma Anderson, Chairperson
Aine Keogh, Secretary
Joanne Rae, Assistant Secretary 

National Representatives: Aine Keogh and Cathy Walsh
Joined ECCO in: 2004
Incidence of IBD in the country: Approx. 35,000

What has changed since your society became an ECCO Country Member?

Since joining ECCO we have seen an increase in the number of nurses joining our national group as well as a growing interest in IBD. ECCO has provided us with many educational opportunities.

What are the benefits to you of being an ECCO Country Member?

We are able to participate in many of the ECCO Activities and the N-ECCO School has been very well attended from Ireland. Some of our members have been involved in developing the ECCO Guidelines. ECCO also provides us with a forum to network with other countries.

Is your society making use of the ECCO Guidelines?

Yes, most centres in Ireland would follow the ECCO Guidelines. They are a very important resource for us as a small country as we do not have our own national guidelines.

Have you developed links with other countries through your ECCO Country Membership?

Yes, some of our members have travelled to other centres in the UK.

Have you developed research projects with other countries through your ECCO Country Membership?


What are your main areas of research interest?

We have a strong interest in nursing research and many of our nurses have both presented at ECCO and submitted posters. Several of our nurses have published research. Our main interests are:

  • Faecal incontinence and anxiety and depression
  • Transition from paediatrics to adult service
  • The effectiveness of patient information leaflets provided by a clinical nurse specialist on disease-related knowledge in IBD
  • The perceptions and experiences of nursing care among people living with IBD – a qualitative evidence synthesis
  • Biosimilar switch
  • National IBD nurses survey
  • Fatigue

Does your centre or country have a common IBD database or biobank?

We do not have a common IBD database or biobank but some of the large centres have their own database and some do their own biobanking.

What are your most prestigious/interesting past and ongoing projects?

Dawn Farrell is currently conducting a research project funded through an N-ECCO Grant. We have completed a national study to establish the numbers of IBD nurses and the variation in their role nationally.

Which ECCO Projects/Activities is the group currently involved in?

As a group we attend the N-ECCO School, the research meeting and the clinical trials school. Many of the centres are involved in I-CARE.

What are your aims for the future?

To promote IBD nursing in Ireland and to roll out educational programmes for fellow nurses in IBD, using the findings from recent research studies. If these programmes prove successful, they could be rolled out across Europe. We also aim to develop patient education forums for IBD patients.

How do you see ECCO helping you to fulfil these aims?

ECCO can assist in the focus on research and education. We would like the ECCO IBD Nurse Education Programme, which is being run over 6 months in individual countries, to be affiliated to a college so that it is recognised as an academic qualification.

What do you use ECCO for? Network? Congress?

ECCO is used for guidance and the ECCO Congress is recognised as the most important meeting in Europe to focus on IBD. It is also a very beneficial educational and research platform.

Posted in ECCO News, ECCO Country Member Profiles, Volume 14, Issue 4